Redistricting plan joins Tipton County with Memphis in one Congressional district

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 12:53 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2022 at 1:00 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A monumental change to Tennessee’s electoral map is one step closer to reality.

Tennessee House Republicans unveiled and pushed forward their Congressional redistricting plan on Wednesday.

The plan is generating a lot of controversy because of plans to split Nashville and Davidson County into multiple congressional districts.

There are also changes for the Memphis area.

If you live in Tipton County, your member of Congress will likely be changing.

States are required to redraw the boundaries of their legislative and congressional districts once every 10 years after the Census.

The Republican plan carves Nashville into three Congressional districts with different parts of the city represented by a different member of Congress.

Democrats accuse Republicans of rigging the map to their own benefit and say the process has not been transparent.

“I hadn’t seen that map. That map was kept under lock and key up until today and I sit on the committee,” said State Rep. Antonio Parkinson, D-Memphis.

Parkinson also describes the map House Republicans unveiled during a hearing of the select committee on redistricting as “vicious.”

“When this map was unveiled, you could hear the air suck out of the room from everybody looking at it,” said Parkinson. “I was just shocked myself. This is a vicious map.”

Republicans say their plan is legal.

“This concept complies with all state and federal constitutional and statutory requirements,” said State Rep. Pat Marsh, R-Shelbyville.

Most of Memphis remains in the 9th Congressional District, which is currently represented by Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen.

But Cohen’s district will now include all of Tipton County, which has a vastly different demographic, racially and politically, than Memphis.

For instance, according to the U.S. Census, 78% of Tipton County is white. White voters make up only 40% percent of Shelby County.

In Tipton County, 74% of voters voted for Donald Trump in 2020, compared to just 34% of Shelby County voters, according to election data.

Tipton County is mostly rural, whereas Shelby County is mostly urban.

Cohen released the following statement regarding the proposal:

“I look forward to representing the people of Tipton County, where I have many friends and supporters. I have known County Executive Jeff Huffman for many years and will be reaching out to him soon to ask him about the county’s needs and priorities that can be addressed by the federal government.”

The redistricting proposal must still go through a couple of more committees and be voted on by the full general assembly.

Republicans hold a supermajority in both the state House and state Senate.

Democrats are threatening legal action if the Republican redistricting plan passes.

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